CBC Review: “Bashir Lazhar” offers rewarding lessons in life, loss, and hope
Joff Schmidt, CBC Manitoba
There’s something sadly, terrifyingly beautiful in the set the greets the audience entering Theatre Projects Manitoba’s production of Bashir Lazhar.
A twisted wreck of school desks, bright orange plastic chairs, and the remnants of window frames, it’s a scene that implies something unthinkable has happened – and yet also suggests the innocence and possibility of childhood.
And this is an apt metaphor for Quebecoise playwright Evelyne de la Chenelière’s one-man play (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film Monsieur Lazhar). It is full of sadness, humour, and hope, in a mixture that flows from horrifying to hopeful. And here, it makes for a rich, emotionally rewarding theatrical experience. More >
“This play stays with you like that special teacher you never forget”
Four & a half stars!
“Deceptively simple but deeply affecting”
“David Adam’s delivers an exceptional understated performance!”
At first glance at the spectacular set of the stage drama Bashir Lazhar, it looks like a bomb has gone off in the classroom of a French-langauge school in Montreal.
For its Grade 6 students, their safe haven of learning has been blown sky-high by the suicide of their beloved female teacher, found hanging in their classroom. The deceased is not the title character but it’s her substitute, a man who reads about the school tragedy and appears unannounced in the principal’s office offering to take over the traumatized class.
That sets the scene for Evelyne de la Chenelière’s deceptively simple but deeply affecting Bashir Lazhar…Read the whole review!
Refugee Panel Discussion
Do you wonder what the experience of Refugees in our province is like? We do! Bashir Lazhar gives us the story of a political refugee seeking asylum in Canada – in his case, Montreal, Quebec. We see it isn’t easy going, but it’s somewhat familiar to the audience – we are, after all, a nation of newcomers. But there are differences to the experience of immigrants over generations, and chasms between one experience and another – choosing to immigrate is a far cry from arriving as a political refugee. And doing outreach for Bashir Lazhar has given us an opportunity to connect with many of the individuals and organizations who serve our newcomers. So, we decided to take the pulse of this community – to hear about the concerns, triumphs and unique challenges that refugees face in Manitoba and Winnipeg.
We will convene a panel discussion at the Free Press Café at 6:30 PM on Wednesday March 20th. The discussion will be moderated by CBC’s Sean Kavanagh and the panel will consist of Abdikheir Ahmed- Interim Executive Director at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) Inc.; Damarys Ramirez- Manager of Inland Protection at Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council and Bashir Khan, an Immigration and Refugee lawyer in Winnipeg and a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Bios soon to come.